My Home Town
Growing Up in Paradise
The Virgin Islands are truly paradise in every sense of the word. Growing up on the island of St. Croix was magical. Since I was born in St. Croix, that is my true hometown. However, I can claim St. Thomas as my hometown, too, since my younger years were spent in St. Thomas. Sometime during my middle school years, my family moved to St. Croix where I attended catholic school. However, we would go back and forth from one island to the other as we had families on both islands and my dad worked in St. Thomas. My grandma's house was a hop, skip and a jump away from a lagoon in St. Croix. Many a days we would trek there to catch crabs and swim. One of my fondest memories is of the family picnics we used to have at Cramer's Park. The whole family would gather together, bring side dishes and my uncles would roast a pig right there on the beach. We [kids] would be in the water just splashing around and having fun. It sounds strange to say, but living on a beautiful island surrounded by all that crystalline blue water, many of us couldn't swim a stroke.
St. Croix, nicknamed Twin City, is the largest of the three islands (St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix) of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Populated with over 53,000 residents, it is only 84 square miles . In an era long gone, St. Croix was the top sugar producing island of the Caribbean. Numerous ruins of sugar mills are scattered throughout the island. Whim Plantation, a sugar plantation that's been preserved, is one of the many historic sites. Christiansted and Frederiksted are the two main towns in St. Croix. I lived on Company Street, one of the main roads in downtown Christiansted. We used to call Frederiksted 'ghost town' because there was hardly anything ever going on there except for the carnival at Christmas time. Not so today. Frederiksted has its share of historical sights, like Fort Frederik, a National Historic Landmark. Frederiksted Pier is one of the most popular diving points in the island and the town is dotted with gift shops, merchant stands and local sellers. Then there is the Emancipation Park in front of the Fredericksted fort and waterfront. It's a beautiful town park with a small gazebo and statues of historically important Virgin Islanders. There is plenty to do in Frederiksted today.
Snorkeling in St. Croix
If you're a fan of this sport, snorkeling is a must in St. Croix! The hardest decision will be choosing a snorkeling point.
The U.S. Virgin Islands - St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John
Before planning a trip to the islands, get to know a little about their history, culture, customs and people.
Old Sugar Mills - A past era
The islands are dotted with old sugar mills. You will notice these ruins of yester-year while touring the islands. Though not habitable, they have been preserved and serve as a historic site lending their own unique charm to the islands.
Welcome to St. Croix! - The Twin City
Tour the island in these videos and see the many activities that will keep you busy and entertained. From biking to colorful island festivals, you'll never have a dull moment in St. Croix.
Dining on the Islands - ...from the small local eatery to the finest restaurants
- Cafe Christine
A must on your list!
- Dining in St John
Choose from this list of fine restaurants where to dine.
- tavern on the Waterfront
Succulent cuisine and a wonderful atmosphere to dine in.
- The Banana Deck
Known for it's speciality 'Island Drinks' which are $1 off during 'happy-hour' from 4:30pm-6:30pm.
St. Thomas 60th Carnival Celebration
Colorful costumes and festivities
Overview of St. Thomas
Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas V.I. is the capital of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Spanning 32 square miles with very mountainous terrain, St. Thomas is by far the most adventurous of the three islands. It can be a challenge to drive especially since the roads are so narrow. But as you climb higher up the rough, winding hills you get a panoramic view of the waterfront below and the harbor where the big cruise ships dock. Over half of the 51,000 plus residents in St. Thomas live in Charlotte Amalie. The other inhabitants are sprinkled throughout West End, East End and other parts of the island.
After the sun goes down you can do karaoke, go dancing or bar hopping where you'll undoubtedly find 'happy hour'.
Shopping in St. Thomas is a blast. I love the charged atmosphere of people interchanging from store to store. It is so alive! There are lots of duty-free shops and boutiques offering watches, jewelry, perfumes, clothing, alcohol, china, crystal and numerous other items.
One of biggest events in St. Thomas is the carnival which begins April 1 and extends through April 28. The carnival begins with smaller events that culminate with the adult's Carnival Parade on April 28. This is a colorful extravaganza replete with costumes and dancing in the street that last from 7 to 8 hours and end up at the Lionel Robert Stadium. During the festival (or bachannal as we used to call it when I was growing up) you will 'tramp' behind the steel bands. Interpreted, that means you will dance in the street behind the steel band. This can last for a while and it usually ends up at the Village. Fort Christian parking lot serves as 'The Village', set up with numerous booths that sell native foods and drinks nightly during the carnival.
St. Thomas, US Virgin islands - A General Overview
Island Poll - Tell us if you've been to the islands.
Have you ever been to the U.S. Virgin Islands?
Shopping in the Virgin Islands
Here is a list of stores and boutiques that sell everything... from jewelry to fine liquors to clothing. Remember, perfumes are duty free and no sales tax! Liquors and fine spirits are also duty free and tax-free up to 50% and more below U.S. retail.
- Havensight Mall
This is a really cool mall which houses over 100 stores and business.
- VI Traders
The place - if you're looking for books, calendars, souvenirs, music and postcards.
Uniquely crafted, hand fabricated jewelry. One of a kind.
- Touch of Gold
Exquisite gold jewelry encrusted with beautiful precious stones.
- Just BEach
Beach shopping at its finest. Whatever your beach needs, you'll find it here.
Bougainvillea - Wonderful Island Clothing
Shopping can be such a pleasurable experience in the islands. Stores open relatively early and if you plan accordingly, you can pack a lot of shopping into your day. Remember to dress 'casual' as the weather can get quite hot and humid as the day progresses.
The islands offer an abundance of colorful apparel and custom made jewelry to delight your senses. From trinkets to souvenirs to some serious shopping, you will uncover that special gown or one-of-a-kind necklace for your party or get-together.
After shopping sit back and enjoy a tall cool drink or a scrumptious lunch 'al fresco' in one of the many breezy sidewalk restaurants or cafe's right by the water. Ahhh! Rum Punch, anyone?
From The Gecko - Fashion collections
What to do ...Where to go - Numerous Activities on the Islands
There are so many things to do on the islands. Your only problem will be finding time to do it all. From numerous water sports which include kayaking, diving and snorkeling to boating, fishing or swimming at a family beach park, you can choose your favorite water adventure. What to do if you're not into water sports? Well, you can tour the island, go to an outdoor concert, golf, explore the abundant vegetation by jeep, visit the racetrack, shop, enjoy a crab race at an island bar, or just dine leisurely at a local restaurant. From island hopping, to dancing the night away, ..... You can do it all in the fabulous Virgin Islands! Of course, you may just want to take some time off to relax and enjoy a lazy afternoon. It's up to you!
- St Thomas Attractions – Activities For The Family - Things to do - Coral World
Enjoy the St Thomas activities and attractions in Coral World. There are snuba diving, sharks encounter and many more things to do in St Thomas.
- Maho Bay
After shopping for your beach gear head out to the crystalline waters of Maho Bay.
- St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures
Scuba diving at its best in St. Croix. Check out their daily dive schedule.
- Seaborne Airlines
Have fun 'Island hopping' from one island to another.
- U.S. Virgin Islands Kayaking
Join our tour and spend a wonderful day kayaking or canoeing.
- Duffys Love Shack
You will have tons of fun at Duffys Love Shack from dining on their fine cuisine to dancing 'on the tables'.
Shopping in St. Thomas
St. Croix USVI T-shirt
Hotel Accomodations on the Islands
- The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
The epitome of luxury and pampering, you'll relish the personal service and attention doted on you. An exquisite experience.
- Bolongo Bay Beach Resort
Your stay at Bolongo Bay will be filled with countless fun activities. From windsurfing to relaxing with a cocktail, Bolongo has it all!
- Sans Souci Villa
If you're planning a family vacation with 5 or more people, this is the place. Spacious, with private bedrooms.
- The St. John Inn
Laid back and affordable, there are plenty of fun activities to enhance your stay at St. John Inn.
- The Buccaneer
Have an exquisite and romantic experience at the Bucaneer! Check out their romance package.
- The Palms at Pelican Cove
Small hotel with BIG entertainment, nightlife, fun activities and modern amenities.
Walking Tour - The Many Beautiful Sites of St. Thomas
99 Steps - ....or 103 steps?
The famous 99 steps mentioned in the video above were the focal point of downtown trips for us kids. It was like a holiday every time we passed Government Hill and got to play on the steps.
As a child I remember trying to run up these steps every time we went downtown Charlotte Amalie. I didn't realize at the time there were so many steps. All I remember is that it was fun running up the steps. My sister and I used to try to run all the way up to the top and then jump back down one by one. We'd delight in picking the red and purple bougainvilleas that grew on either side of the stairs much to my mom and aunt's disapproval.
When I realized that, in effect, there are 103 steps I marvel that we were able to get to the top and still have enough energy to jump back down. Since there are 103, it makes me wonder why do they call it The 99 Steps? I haven't seen them for years. This picture brings back such memories!
Beautiful St. Thomas!
Caribbean Villa Rentals - Luxury Retreats on the Islands
- Bella Sera
Secluded in the east end of the island against the backdrop of the picturesque Caribbean sea, Bella Sera is truly St. Croix's jewel worth finding.
- Sapphire Breeze
Colorful decor and an underwater window to the pool above makes this a unique experience.
- Villa Bliss
A stunningly beautiful villa in St. Thomas. Set among the lush vegetation of the island, it radiates serenity and tranquility .
- Whispering Winds
Private gated residence in a secluded pine-lined cove right by the water! Amazing view.
- Sugar Bay House
Feel the cool breeze on your face as you stand in the huge gallery overlooking the Caribbean sea. This is elegance at it's finest.
- Ebb Tide Villa
the Ebb Tide is your fun vacation home. Private and convenient, it's just a short drive to your local stores, restaurants and shopping venues.